Dec 17, 2012
commented on I Am Adam Lanza's Mother
I am Dan's (name changed) sister. I grew up with a loving bright brother who loved the outdoors and swimming. He laughed, loved and worked hard at school and swimming. He was in his senior year of college in economics and going to the NCAA championships in two swimming events. Dan came to me several times that year and told me he was "losing my mind". I didn't understand and tried to comfort him. Neither of us snew what this meant or what to do. That was 35 years ago. He now believed the delusions and hallucinations that have taken over his mind. Dan lives alone in an apartment and becomes more isolated as his illness completely controls his thoughts. Every once in a while we carry on a conversation about "real" things. Mostly Dan tells me how lonely he feels. Frequently he becomes verbally aggressive. The mental health laws give Dan the "right" to live where he wants. Dan needs an apartment with his own space (living room, bathroom, kitchen and bedroom). He doesn't want to live with anyone. He likes his privacy. He does however need socialization. He needs to be with others that accept him. He needs organized events he can participate in without feeling "different". He needs to be with others like him. There is no place for supervision with independent living for the mentally ill. They are either hospitalized, live in "group homes" or live alone. We need more alternatives. We need to not give these loved family members "the right to decide" on their own where they live Just reading the definition of schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia one understands why my loved brother needs someone to help make decisions for him. The mental health reform laws did many good things for people housed in horrible hospital situations, but giving them total freedom to live without the necessary support and supervision is in my opinion a very big part of how isolation makes things worse. New mental health reform is necessary. I feel my brother would be safer and less aggressive in a housing complex with his own apartment with direct supervision from a professional staff. I believe he would be less aggressive with less potential for harming others with socialization and organized events that give him the freedom to participate when he elects. I believe we need housing to help create accepted environments that help these children of the brain illnesses feel successful and accepted. We need new mental health laws.